With Sly returning as Gabe Walker in a Cliffhanger reboot/sequel, we look at five other Sylvester Stallone films that need a sequel…
Sylvester Stallone is going to hit the mountains in a surprising and long awaited sequel/reboot to Cliffhanger. The Die Hard in the snowy mountains hit was one of the better examples of Stallone’s 1990s action films but he has a number of underappreciated films and character’s fans would no doubt love to see him revisit.
From an already existing franchise, to films that have also had rumoured sequels over the years, let’s take a look at the five Sly Stallone sequels which need to happen WITH the main man returning…
Last Blood Redux
There’s no two ways about it, Rambo: Last Blood the fifth film in Stallone’s iconic Rambo series, was a big let down. It felt cheap, rushed and unimaginative. In spite of a fairly decent uber violent Home Alone riff near the finale of the film, as Rambo funnels cartel members into the caverns beneath his farm house, the film was largely uninspired, dour and its depiction of Mexican cartels felt 10 years out of date.
What Rambo needs is a good send off. Long gone are the days where cinema could just pull off another run and gun film like the second to fourth instalments, and Stallone himself is getting a bit stiff. However an old gunslinger model could work and First Blood meets Unforgiven would be a more fitting style to take the character back to some dramatic roots.
Just being miserable isn’t enough, which seemed to be the beginning and end of his character arc in Last Blood. We need some redemption, some form of character resolution and an interesting story. Plus, it’s long overdue, but Rambo needs to die and be laid to rest. First Blood has certainly grown in reverance over time and that first film is great, but Rambo’s legacy has largely been shaped by the more simplistic good vs evil carnage of its sequels. Still, that first film deserves to finally have a real spiritual sequel that matches its drama and message.
Maybe a reuniting of Stallone and his Copland director James Mangold who gave us a Logan film that was way better than it had any right to be.
Demolition Man 2
At one stage Demolition Man had a sequel touted, with one rumour revolving around Stallone finding his adult daughter who would have been played by Meryl Streep. As farcical as that might sound, and no doubt had a script ever got close to completion, Streep would have trashed it, the concept had legs.
Demolition Man has definitely developed a cult following in time and it has been praised for its nail on head depiction of a cancel culture, PC gone mad future. The pastiche of nostalgia obsession has also become more prevalent as has an increase in corporate monopolies (you need only look at Disney, devouring ever big wheel house and IP factory possible).
Point is, aside from being Idiocracy with action, Demolition Man had an interesting character for Stallone as an old school grizzled cop who revelled in violence, lost in a time where violence has been eradicated. So it’s time for John Spartan to return into a future 30 years beyond the point we left him, with a new set of Sci-fi foibles for them to predict, no doubt involving Ai and a host of other things. Sandra Bullock can return, as can Meryl Streep as the daughter. Logic need not dictate us either and maybe Wesley Snipes can return as a clone of Simon Phoenix.
What we really need now is for Panos Cosmatos to step into the director’s chair vacated by his late father and to make a fantasmagorical action film about a grizzled ex-cop targeted by a new kind of maniac played by Nicolas Cage.
Firstly we wind Nic Cage as much as possible, release and let him go wild as the villain. It’s gonna be a new kind of Zodiac Killer tale full of dazzling colours and weird cults. Marion Cobretti thought he’d seen it all, but now, in his 70s he has to pull the sheet off his old 1950 Mercury Monty and hunt down Cage (the love child of Brian Thompson’s Night Slasher).
Can Cobretti still defeat the bad guys? Of course he can, and he still cuts cold pizza slices with scissors. For sheer awkward value we’re bringing back Brigitte Nielsen.
The original Assassins film probably didn’t live up to its concept, nor the great match up of Stallone versus Antonio Banderas. The picture probably got scraped of an intensity that was likely more evident in the Wachowskis’ original script, and conventionalised a little more for the Sly Stallone audience.
The original also lagged in the mid-section with the inclusion of Julianne Moore who never felt quite right in the film. Still, it had Richard Donner at the helm and any scenes with Banderas were instantly more interesting.
So, as is the action film way, maybe we can have Banderas returning as Miguel on a long standing vendetta to finally rid the world of Robert Rath who comes out of retirement for one last hit, and much like John Wick, puts himself back in the game with this action.
This time it’s a tidier, grittier and more noir-infused assassin versus assassin action film with one ageing hitman against a slightly more agile, but still rickety hitman. Could Lana and Lilly Wachowski recapture the tighter, more refrained noir stylings of Bound and inject it into a 90 minute low-tech action film?
Tango and Cash 2
Another underrated Stallone gem is the enjoyable buddy cop classic, Tango and Cash. As a mismatched buddy up, Stallone and Kurt Russell are both great, bouncing off each other well particularly during the first half of the film where the pair have a mutual disrespect for the other.
There seemed like definite sequel potential for this one, and although it wasn’t a huge financial success upon release there was still the sense that it had enough love to warrant a follow up. The major reason though would have been that chemistry and interplay between Stallone and Russell which mined so much enjoyment out of this buddy up.
A big strength in Tango and Cash was having a great collection of villains including Jack Palance, Brion James and James Hong. This time out a new selection of bad guys heading up a corporation of villains need to stand out and making them a generation or two younger than Sly and Kurt would also add to concept too.
Perhaps on this adventure, Russell’s Cash, a now bedraggled P.I scraping a living unearths something that puts him and Ray’s sister (a returning Teri Hatcher) in danger. That’s when Ray Tango is brought back into action as the pair seek to take down the organisation whilst having to evade the cops once again.
Shane Black hasn’t done a buddy film in far too long and should be dragged kicking and screaming to direct this one.
Which Stallone film needs a sequel/reboot? Let us know your thoughts on our social channels @flickeringmyth…
Tom Jolliffe is an award winning screenwriter and passionate cinephile. He has a number of films out around the world, including When Darkness Falls and Renegades (Lee Majors and Danny Trejo) and more coming soon including War of The Worlds: The Attack (Vincent Regan) and The Baby in the Basket. Find more info at the best personal site you’ll ever see here.